The history of Tarot
Tarot cards have existed since the year 1392 (The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, 104). The deck of Tarot has many histories, and it is of mysterious origin. Many people day that the gypsies of Europe created the original deck.
To me, the most compelling explanation for the development of the Tarot deck is that it was a way for heretics (who were being persecuted during the many inquisitions of Europe) to secretly record and teach the true history of Christianity and Mary Magdeline. (The Woman with the Alabaster Jar 104).
The four suits and 22 major arcana cards from that early period share symbols with the hidden tradition and heresy of the Holy Grail, which tells the true story of Christianity and Mary Magdeline. In fact, authorities of the Catholic church condemned the cards as “heretical,” indicating that they must have been aware of their content of the hidden tradition. One Franciscan friar preached against the cards in 1450 as an invention of the devil. (The Woman with the Alabaster Jar 104)
How to choose a tarot deck that you connect with
It is said that you need to receive your first deck as a gift. You could start calling it in, ask the spirit world to help the right deck find you, or ask for a deck from a loved one…or just go ahead and give it to yourself.
Once you have your deck, start exploring the cards. Tarot has been one of my favorite things to do and brings a lot of magic and mysticism into my life.
Create a spiritual relationship with your deck
Before you start giving readings to others or allowing others to touch your deck, create your own relationship with your deck.
When you receive a new deck, [cleanse it] with the cleansing herb of your choice, knock it, shuffle it, go stand outside on the ground with bare feet and [ground] with the deck in your hands, and sleep with it under your pillow for a moon cycle. These are all ways that you can create a spiritual connection with your deck.
Once you have established your relationship with your deck, consider whether you will give readings with this deck, keep it for yourself (infuse it with your energy only), or allow your loved ones to work with it as well.
I like the idea of having two of the same decks: one deck for myself and one deck for readings and friends. I don’t currently have this, but I would like to keep my own energetics infused in my deck.
If you do have only one deck you work with for everything, make sure that you cleanse it and knock off the energy before you work with a new person (simply stack the deck, hold it in one hand, and knock on it with the other hand).
Best Tarot decks I recommend
The first deck that I received as a gift from my tarot teacher was the Thoth deck and I continue to work with it often. The Thoth is a classic deck, and an alternative to the original Rider Waite deck. In contrast to the Rider Waite deck, I appreciate that the Thoth does not have images of swords or people being stabbed. This is the classic imagery of many decks.
Thoth is a classic deck because it was designed by Aleister Crowley. He was an English magician and an interesting historical figure. Crowley designed the deck to be full of symbolism from astrological symbols to elemental symbols.
When I first started working with Tarot, the amount of symbolism in the Thoth deck intimidated me so I started with a simpler deck called the Wildwood Deck. This deck is based on Celtic symbolism, history, and mythology. I really like this deck as well but when I started diving more into tarot I realized I had trained on a deck that wasn’t so classic and it was confusing to switch and learn the more classic meanings and associations.
Many women have recommended the Fountain Tarot in the Rise Collective community. I like those illustrations as well but haven’t worked with the deck.
Some like the Wild Unknown deck. I am not drawn to it because it is dark and seems to have ominous messages.
If you want to just get started with divination without getting into Tarot, the Osho oracle deck or the Tao oracle deck is a great place to start.
Best books about Tarot that I recommend
I prefer to stick with one or two books about Tarot that I am drawn to, because working with several books can get confusing for me. The book I recommend the most for any Tarot deck is The Spiritual Tarot by by Signe E. Echols and Robert Mueller. It is full of symbolism and meaning.
If you decide to work with Thoth deck, work with The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols by Angeles Arrien. It is poorly written and repetitive but the repetition makes it a good teacher in many ways.
How to ask Tarot questions
When working with divination tools, you will only receive the right answers if you ask the right questions. Thus, questions are very important. This is a process of gathering more information from the spirit world about situations in your life. You can also gather more information about situations in your life through journey work.
Here is a guide for how to ask the right questions of your tarot deck:
- “How will it look for me to…”
- “What is the nature of my relationship with…”
- “What am I in the process of learning from…”
- “What do my guides want me to know right now?”
Once you have received an answer from the tarot deck, record the question and result from the spread in your journal so that you can refer back to it, make shifts in your life accordingly so that you can embody the information you gained.
How to work with Tarot for personal and career goals
- Creating a yearly spread, one card for each month plus one card for the theme of the year. This helps me see what might be ahead, how to approach each moon cycle, and gives me a clue about the challenges I might be facing. The books that I mentioned above have a lot of wisdom about how to approach situations, and what capacities we may need for challenges ahead. I make note of these in the spread.
- Each week on Monday, I choose a card for the same reasons: to see the theme and the issues I may be working through for the week ahead. This helps me have an overall sense of what the week may look like.
- If I am facing a particular situation in my life or business that I am seeking guidance on, I ask a question and pull a single card
- There are many creative and more complex spreads, traditional, and new. I recommend first exploring your deck and becoming acquainted with it before you start working with more complex spreads.
I hope this guide helps you understand how you can work with the Tarot for guidance and support from the spirit realms and the unseen world. It has brought so much magic into my life and I hope it brings magic into yours as well!